The point of a tactical pen is that you can always carry it.

Always? Virtually, yes. But, you say, “I’m already carrying a gun, a knife, a tactical flashlight, a reload (or two), a phone and car keys … not sure if I really need another piece of gear. And if I did, I’m not sure I’d add a tactical pen.”

Tactical Self-Defense Tools

Okay, let’s work that argument a bit. Are you always able to carry those other items? And if so, how effective — defensively — can they be?

  • Gun: Not always able to carry. Very effective defensively, but only in the right situations.
  • Knife: Almost always able to carry. Very effective as a defense, but only in the right situations.
  • Flashlight: Almost always able to carry. An effective defense for a few situations, but really is a supplement to the other tools.
  • Reload: You wouldn’t carry it without your gun, so not always. In and of itself, not a defensive tool.
  • Phone: Almost always carried. If you’re Jason Bourne, probably a very effective defensive tool. But you’re you, and I’m me.
  • Car keys: Almost always carried. Defensive effectiveness depends on where you keep them — on your person via a clip, in your pocket, in a bag, etc.

A tactical pen can be carried on-person all day, riding in a front shirt pocket, clipped to a shirt over a button, clipped to a pants pocket and more. A tactical pen can be in hand, ready for use, and no one will bat an eye. With the right training, a tactical pen may be the tool not only easiest and fastest to deploy but also most effective for buying you a few more precious seconds in order to get away or deploy a different tool.

A black tactical pen with a convenient pocket clip and a barely discernible USCCA logo on the udnerside of the barrel

The USCCA tactical pen is sleek, unobtrusive and easy to add for your everyday carry load.

What to Look for in a Tactical Pen

The personal-defense-tools market offers several variations of the tactical pen, each with differing strengths and weaknesses. My single recommendation is that you find a pen that is strong — something you can hold very tightly and with which you can strike very hard. Other than that, features and options are up to you.

The tactical pen from USCCA is crafted from aluminum alloy. It’s rugged, heavy and sturdy enough for self-defense. The pen, sporting a USCCA logo, features a glass-breaking tip and pocket clip. It is 5.8 inches long and writes in black ink.

My pen rides around with me — virtually all the time — clipped to my weak-side pants pocket or, if I’m in the office, clipped to my shirt pocket. Ready. Available. Right there. I’m familiar with its location and how it feels in hand because, frankly, it’s a great pen and I use it to take notes all day, too. Every now and again, someone will notice the carbide tip and ask about it. Other than that, it’s just a pen … but, at the same time, so much more.

You get the point. And if you have to use it, your attacker will, too.